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Black Orchids

Black Orchids - Rex Stout, Lawrence Block The book consists of two novellas - Black Orchids and Cordially Invited to Meet Death - with black orchids being the only connection between them.

Black Orchids. Anybody familiar with the series knows Nero Wolfe grows orchids and would go to any lengths to acquire rare specimens, including the unthinkable like leaving his house. It is easy to imagine what he would do to get his hands on the rarest of the said plants: the black orchids. Somebody managed to grow them and put them in a big plant exhibition. Now Archie Goodwin has another job: go to the exhibition every day and report on them to Nero Wolfe. On the third day the latter decides to go himself. Where Nero Wolfe goes, crime follows.

Cordially Invited to Meet Death. A famous New York party organizer asked Nero Wolfe to play a detective in a party game. Wolfe refused her and felt offended for being asked to participate in such entertainment. When she got into a real trouble several years later and asked Wolfe for his professional help, he was not enthusiastic about giving it to her until the trouble became much more than that.

I became curios about the existence of black orchids, so after a consultation from my friend (Suzy, I am looking at you) I read the Wikipedia article on the subject. Black orchids do exist, in fact several different kinds of them, but none of the real life variety is as black as described in the book; no wonder Nero Wolfe would do anything to get them.

As to the book itself, it is a good Nero Wolfe mystery (two of them actually), exactly what we would expect from the series. Inspector Cramer grumbles - he really has a good reason to do it with the way Wolfe conducted the investigation in the first novella. Nero Wolfe is as unmovable as a mountain, except when it comes to objects in the title. Archie Goodwin provides his usual wisecracks and all the action and never lets these stories become boring or slow.

This review is a copy/paste of my LeafMarks one: https://www.leafmarks.com/lm/#/users/10968/books/142868/review